Legacy workflows in toxicology generally involve a drug class screen followed by a gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) and liquid chromatography mass spectroscopy (LC/MS-MS) confirmation analysis. Additional techniques could also be used in workflows, but their applications were focused on specific drugs. In general, analyses were serial, limited, and often required multiple methods depending on the number of drug classes in the samples. Results required lengthy and costly workflows, especially when toxicologists were working with complicated samples.
Advances in chromatography and mass spectroscopy instrumentation have created opportunities to reduce extractions, increase simultaneous and parallel analyses, reduce sample handling and cost, analyze a broader range of drug classes, and quantitate more routinely. The introduction of technologies like quadrupole time-of flight (QTOF) and high-resolution mass spectroscopy can significantly improve the operations of a toxicology laboratory
Quantitations and broad spectrum analyses have always been a requirement of post-mortem (PM) toxicology. However, driving-under-the-influence of drugs (DUID) analysis is now approaching the complexity and breadth of PM toxicology. Laboratories are required to go well beyond DUI/alcohol impairment information to a multitude of drug classes, including anti-anxiety medications, sedatives, volatiles, pain medications, fentanyl, cannabinoids, barbiturates, and others. Traditional drugs of abuse are also included in the requested analyses. In addition to this range of drugs, quantitative information (including multiple replicates if possible) is extremely valuable for stakeholders.
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